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Subject: "Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February." Archived thread - Read only
 
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Brendan McCarthymoderator

17-02-02, 07:01 PM (GMT)
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"Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
 
   The Royal Ballet is on an extraordinarily tight rehearsal schedule. The Enduring Images mixed bill, which features works by William Forsythe and Nacho Duato, begins on March 4th, with Mats Ek’s Carmen to follow five weeks later. Never has the company taken so many contemporary pieces into its repertory in such a short period. At the same time the Royal Ballet is giving several major productions of the classics. La Bayadere is having a very successful run, and two other classics, Giselle and Romeo & Juliet, are still to come. The rehearsal studios on the fifth floor of the Opera House are continuously busy. Dancers are learning pieces in sharply different grammars, while all the while performing in the main house, and taking part in events organised by Deborah Bull’s Artists’ Development Initiative, and the Friends of Covent Garden.

The introduction to the company of so much new work will enrich it creatively, and enhance its relevance. But there are costs, almost certainly unintended, and perhaps transitional. There is increasing evidence that the company is feeling the pressure, and some of the strains were visible at Saturday’s Enduring Images Study Day. Dancers were shuttling backwards and forwards between the Linbury and continuing rehearsals on the 5th Floor. Henry Roche, the Head of the Royal Ballet’s Music Staff, made no bones about the tightness of the schedule, but it was Kathryn Bennetts from Ballett Frankfurt, who is at Covent Garden to teach William Forsythe’s “In the middle, somewhat elevated”, who voiced the deepest misgivings; “I have never had to set this ballet so fast or so quick. There is never enough time. These dancers are so overwhelmed. They are exhausted.” She had never heard of dancers being asked to perform so many ballets at once. At the same time they were being asked to rehearse in a number of very different movement styles.

Tamara Rojo, for instance, is simultaneously rehearsing Mats Ek’s Carmen, Nacho Duato’s Por Vos Muero, and Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, while also performing in La Bayadere. At another Friends' event earlier in the week, the Events Manager of the Friends of Covent Garden told her audience that a previous week’s performance of Beyond Bach had almost been “pulled”. The guest that day, Johan Kobborg, was clearly unhappy at the lack of rehearsal time. He suggested the company needed “either more dancers, or fewer ballets”.

Enduring Images: Music

Introducing Saturday’s study day, Henry Roche of the Music Staff said that he would normally be unhappy at a mixed bill in which two out of four pieces were performed to taped music. But orchestral schedules had been very tight for several months; they would have been hard pressed if all the music had been live. Tape reduces the pressure. The two pieces danced to live music are Duato’s Remanso to a piano suite by Granados, while Forsythe’s ‘Vertiginous’ is danced to the finale of Schubert’s Symphony No. 9.

The score for Remanso was not, to Roche’s ears, obviously Spanish. When he had asked Duato if he should attempt to perform it with a more obviously Spanish twist, Duato advised not. The structure is of 6 waltzes with solos each for Jonathan Cope, Inaki Urlezaga and Roberto Bolle, two trios and a pas-de-deux for Cope and Urlezaga.

William Forsythe has set ‘Vertiginous’ to the finale of Schubert’s Symphony No 9 in C major. It is the only ballet in this programme that will be performed to music by a full orchestra. Normally Ballett Frankfurt performs it to a CD accompaniment. The Royal Ballet has a piano transcription of the score, while Frankfurt does not. This is already giving a slightly different characteristic to the Royal Ballet’s interpretation, because there is a degree of ‘play’ in the relationship between the music and the dancers. Structurally the piece includes solos for Alina Cojocaru and Leanne Benjamin, and – intriguingly – a pas-de-deux for Cojocaru and Edward Watson. “Forsythe’s idea of music structure is rather new to us”, Roche went on. Although the ballet breaks new technical ground, the musical structure is quite traditional, based on ‘4 square 8 bar phrases’. This kind of music, the common coin of ballet class accompaniment, is, Roche noted “what choreographers are brought up on, as dancers are used to hearing it in class.”

It was Roche who said that there would be a new Sleeping Beauty next season. But the new Beauty, which he had been discussing with the conductor Charles Barker, would probably leave out La Fee Saphir, the only part of the score in 5/4 time.

Remanso/Nacho Duato

Setting Remanso on the Royal Ballet is the very personable Kim McCarthy. He is a former soloist with the Hamburg Ballet and was later a principal at Duato’s own company, the Compania Nacional de Danza in Madrid. Because of the time pressures, his session in the Linbury yesterday took on the characteristic of a real rehearsal rather than merely that of a lecture demonstration. To his great credit he engaged strongly with the audience, while simultaneously working with Jonathan Cope and one of the understudies, Johannes Stepanek.

The word ‘remanso’ means backwater or quiet of the storm. Remanso (part of a larger ballet, ‘Remansos’) was originally set on ABT principals. Duato has a specific musicality. For every note there is a step. While his movement grammar derives from classical technique, he takes considerable liberties with it. In particular, he is insistent on a “turned in” body – he rejects the “turned out” aesthetic. A classical manege is broken up with pirouettes.

The movement is very angular. A leg may go into plie while the foot is in tendu, and then that foot is dragged along the floor. McCarthy and Duato use a rather interesting shorthand to describe their steps, with particular movement chains being known by such names as ‘Chug’, ‘Rag-doll’, ‘Indian Swing’ ‘Throw up step’ and ‘Walk in Central Park’ ‘Chug’, for instance, is a loose variant of the temps leve. Much of the movement is off balance. Shoulders are often hunched in a most unclassical way. Disguising preparation was important, as was keeping the movement continuous, with no heavy punctuation.

The ballet, performed against a blank wall (for images see the Royal Ballet web-pages), is colour coded with a colour associated with each of the men, Cope, Bolle and Urlezaga. Jonathan Cope, whose solo is the most difficult coming as it does off the back of a pas-de-deux with Urlezaga, said “it was great to do something like this at my age. Now I am beginning to get it in my body”. A complicating factor is that Cope has danced in an earlier version of Remanso, and since then Duato has significantly varied the piece.

McCarthy suggested that Duato’s work could only be seen in its pristine state when performed by his company in Madrid. For newcomers to Duato’s company, McCarthy said, adapting to the style was difficult. It typically took a full year for a dancer to be at ease with it.

While the style does travel, it inevitably takes on the ‘local accent’ of the company performing it. This is true even of NDT, whose repertory is heavily contemporary, and where Duato worked with Kylian. Duato is phlegmatic about this. He would prefer that his style seem natural for the dancer in question and is willing to adapt the steps to the person. Duato will be in London in the week before Remanso goes on stage. McCarthy warned the dancers to expect him to be very exacting.


The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude/ Forsythe

According to Noah Gelber, who danced in the premiere of ‘Vertiginous’, and who is now setting it on the Royal Ballet, ‘Vertiginous’ is about “reinstating every bit of expertise and differentiation in classical ballet that has been lost over the years – all the niceties and eccentricities, and shedding the restrictions that have been imposed on ballet over the years”. Asked if Forsythe intended the piece as his homage to classical ballet, Gilbert answered “it is what you want it to be”.

In this early afternoon session Gelber was rehearsing Tamara Rojo, Ivan Putrov, Natasha Oughtred and Hubert Essakow. Rojo arrived late, and literally hotfoot from a rehearsal room upstairs, while Essakow was learning the ballet for the very first time.

While Vertiginous is more obviously anchored on classical ballet’s home ground than is Remanso, the grammar is subtly modified with, for instance, pirouettes done on a bent supporting leg. Tamara Rojo said she found the steps technically hard, very concentrated and allowing for little breathing space.

Vertiginous is the closing section from Forsythe’s Six Counterpoints, but is more usually given on its own. The entire ballet was made in 10 days, with work on this section beginning only at 5.00 pm on the day of its premiere. It was clearly not a finished piece then, and was refined considerably after the first production. The women in the cast wear green tutus in velvet and Lycra stretched to look like a dish.

Answering questions from the audience Gelbert said that Forsythe was an incredibly prolific choreographer. He might create a 30 minute pas de deux in one day, which he would then edit. Because this ballet was made in such a hurry, many of its transitions were not defined. There were many contrapuntal sections, and Forsythe would move rapidly on leaving some discretion to the dancers to tidy up the loose ends. Vertiginous was, however, a very ‘prescribed’ section, with Forsythe leaving nothing to chance.

In the middle, somewhat elevated/Forsythe.

Next on the stage of the Linbury were Laura Morera and Sian Murphy being rehearsed by the redoubtable Kathryn Bennetts. Bennetts became ballet mistress in Frankfurt in 1989 and since then has set Forsythe’s ballets all over the world. It is danced to a specially commissioned electronic score by Thom Williams, which is on tape. In Bennetts’ words, it is “dancers’ music” with “fabulous rhythms”. Bennetts explained that the work had been first set on a star cast at the Paris Opera Ballet that had included Isabelle Guerin, Fanny Gaida, Laurent Hilaire and Sylvie Guillem. “Bill Forsythe used the opportunity”, Bennetts said, “to extend the technique and to push these people.” Whenever he rehearsed the work on other companies, Forsythe would always say, “Think Paris Opera Ballet!” In the Middle has two long combinations of steps, which are the key building blocks. Everything else varies around them. The ballet was made 20 years ago, and it is not characteristic of Forsythe’s work today, which tends to be slow and minimalist. What connects all his work is the degree of risk taking.

Asked about Forsythe’s interview with Ismene Brown in which he declared that his will would provide that none of his work should be performed after his death, Bennetts replied: “He means it. I often go back to re-rehearse a ballet after several years and I do not recognise it anymore. I imagine this is what it is like with all dance. Bill is trying to preserve his integrity. He thinks that after 50 years, his work will not be timely anymore”.

Asked whether notation could preserve a work with any degree of authenticity, she replied that a score could only note the right steps on the right count. It didn’t mean a work was danced well. She did concede that the Royal Ballet notation, made when the company first performed ‘In the Middle’, had been very helpful.

Por Vos Muero/Duato

Por Vos Muero is danced to the poem of the same name by Garcilaso de la Vega: “For you I was born, for you I am alive, for you I have to die, and for you I die”.

Despite the apparent sombreness of the words, Kim McCarthy the repetiteur described Pos Vos Muero as a “happy feel-good ballet”. It has two main sections. In the first, the women in flesh-coloured leotards and the men in shorts, dance to a score for violins and cellos. The second section is performed in period costume. While Duato wished to convey a sense of the dance of the period and its meaning to the people of the time, the steps are not exact copies. They are derived from gestures based on period paintings and sculptures. McCarthy explained that Duato had grown up in the Valencia region and that this might have been an influence.

Brian Maloney, Tamara Rojo and Johannes Stepanek were working on this closing section. With Duato’s high musicality, the challenge is to integrate dancers’ slightly differing senses of personal time.

In the closing question and answer session McCarthy accepted that the Royal Ballet’s performance could not be a carbon copy of Duato’s own company. It would not capture each detail of the work, but the essential musicality and physicality would be there. As the dancers performed the piece more often, they would, he said, begin to absorb it in their bodies. Asked if Duato might ever create a work especially for the Royal Ballet, McCarthy doubted it. He created two pieces a year for his own company. Although he had in the past created two works for ABT, these were very much the exception.

He fielded a final question on the issue of the lack of rehearsal time, mentioned earlier by Henry Roche and Kathryn Bennetts. He said that the lack of rehearsal time was common to most companies. Despite the shortage of money, companies needed to show different work to keep their public and their dancers interested. The need to have two casts for every work had inevitable subsequent pressures.

Intriguingly, Tamara Rojo added that she always advised her friends to stay away from a premiere. The first night before an audience was always to some extent a rehearsal. It was only on subsequent nights that a performance would settle down and be best appreciated.

There will be four opportunities to see Enduring Images, on March 4th, 6th, 18th and 20th at 7.30.

There is a previous thread on the Enduring Images Study Day.



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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. PhilipBadmin 17-02-02 1
     RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. sylvia 17-02-02 2
         RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. Viviane 17-02-02 3
             RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. PhilipBadmin 17-02-02 5
                 RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. Anneliese 18-02-02 8
                     RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. Paul A 18-02-02 9
                         RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. AEHandley 18-02-02 11
                         RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. alison 19-02-02 12
                             RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. susiecrowmoderator 22-02-02 17
                     RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. Viviane 18-02-02 10
                         RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. katharine kanter 22-02-02 18
                     RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. alison 19-02-02 13
                 RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. alison 19-02-02 15
                 RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. Paul A 22-02-02 19
  RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. tortie14 17-02-02 4
     RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. Brendan McCarthymoderator 18-02-02 6
     RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. alison 19-02-02 14
  RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. Anneliese 18-02-02 7
     RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. Brendan McCarthymoderator 20-02-02 16
         RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February. Jane S 22-02-02 20

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PhilipBadmin

17-02-02, 07:30 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #0
 
   Blimey, Brendan, if I'd known you were either taping it or have a photographic memory (plus film) I wouldn't have written my now lacklustre-looking effort before!


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sylvia

17-02-02, 10:37 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #1
 
   Thanks so much for your efforts - both of you! It's great fun reading others insights. I'd wanted to write something myself but the anount of info was just mind-boggling. I really enjoyed this insight day - I hadn't expected this many rehearsals at all. And Kim was a delight to listen to. The images he came up with to help the dancers were wonderful as a hook for the audience as well. I'm not going to get through Jonny's solo, nor parts of Por Vos Muero without some of that vivid imagery springing to mind!

And it was a sobering insight into how much pressure the dancers and balletmasters are under too. I've groused on the lengthy runs of Don Q, Nutcracker, Bayadere, etc but I'll definitely stop now.


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Viviane

17-02-02, 10:56 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #2
 
   What a marvelous report on this insight-day !
Wonder what will be told after the performances. Unbelievable that you can catch all of that in a nutshell (OK,a big one..), Brendan !
Together with the other thread about this day, this is what makes the site so great...all the different shades of thoughts, impressions and other accents...!
Please PhilipB, we want to hear you again ! It is your posting that made me clear that I'll be missing something !


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PhilipBadmin

17-02-02, 11:58 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #3
 
   Viviane, you're too kind.
As Brendan explained to me off-list, he started this thread separately in order to also focus on issues concerning rehearsal and preparation for productions. It seems that lately the RB have been suffering more injuries than average, and first-nights perceived to below average, and a non-scientific jumped-to conclusion might be to link this to a workload that is heavier, and more diverse, than ever.

There are now three performance spaces in the ROH - I am at the Clore tomorrow for an ADI production, for example, which will feature RB dancers. Stretton seems to be keen on ambitious mixed bills, and the intense work needed in quick time (remember Bennetts' comments in Brendan's original post) for this modern dance production further tests a dancer's body. I won't mention the Beyond Bach cuts!

On the other hand (I'm just raising points, btw, not taking any positions), is the diverse and not-all-classical nature of the year ahead not what people have been demanding in terms of appealing to a broader market?
Further, some murmurs in the past about not seeing non-principals getting senior roles must now be just that - in the past. We are getting to see the likes of Putov, Oughtred, Galeazzi, Nunez, Tattersall and Pennefather on a regular basis - both originally cast and as called-upon understudies, in named roles. While there will always be many ballet-goers who feel short-changed if it isn't Bussell and Cope on the bill, for regulars it is great to see the impact that Nunez has had in recent weeks - and the Onegin cast that had the greatest emotional impact on me personally was Tewsley and Galeazzi. As my Mum said, "Who?".

Finally, the dancers may be working very hard, but they're also not getting bored. If the RB is to continue to be considered the top company in the UK, it MUST get the best staff, of all kinds. Jonathan Cope was quick to point out on Saturday just how enjoyable he was finding the new work, especially "at my age".

We may even get to see more of Yoshida and Yanowsky at this rate (ok, personal bias there!) - perhaps the situation that is developing in 2002 is not quite the one that Wildor imagined?

This is a balancing act that Stretton has: of packing the House for financial reasons, keeping up artistic integrity, keeping true to De Valois' vision but trying new directions, opening up access through the Linbury and Clore studios, getting the right blend with guest artists, ensuring RB artists are challenged but not over-stretched, having a large enough company to cover a cost-effective number of eventualities, putting on enough productions to keep us the regular audience happy, but not compromising standards on opening night, etc. etc. Some aspects are even in opposition to each other.

Sorry if this is a little unfocused (it's midnight!). Like I said, I'm raising potential discussion points to help keep this thread on-topic: is it possible to have your cake, and yet still then consume it? Is this the dawning of a great age for the Royal Ballet - one of great diversity, accessibility and popularity - or is he stretching things too far too fast?


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Anneliese

18-02-02, 03:44 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #5
 
   I often find myself thinking how very few performances any soloist has at the ROH. Now, I take on board Deborah Bull's statement that "you wouldn't expect a marathon runner to run a marathon the day before a marathon", but OTOH I WOULD expect a dancer to be able to cope with 2 or 3 performances a week. The mental problems (and sometimes physical ones) of performing contemporary and classical works in the same timeframe are another issue, of course.

Re. injuries - how much of this is an individual's propensity to particular problems/poor training/just plain bad luck/overwork? Anyone got any stats on this? I remember reading (years ago, back in the days of Chadwick, Brind and Ferri) that the whole company were dreadfully injury-prone and only the ever-reliable Collier could be guaranteed to be on stage on the appointed evenings (or words to that effect). It seems that there are always dancers who are more and less injury-prone and I'd love to hear the company physios' views on the subject.


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Paul A

18-02-02, 04:52 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #8
 
   How does a touring company like ENB or BRB survive? Surely their dancers perform more, and more reliably than their RB counterparts?

Always thought we would see better - ie more technically confident and artistically finished - performances from RB dancers if they got out on stage more often.


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AEHandley

18-02-02, 06:58 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #9
 
   That was my gut feeling too...


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alison

19-02-02, 05:48 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #9
 
   I'd been wondering this too, especially following my comments last week about ENB's 1989 London summer season, which comprised at least 8 largely different programmes. Inconceivable to think of them doing that these days - those were the days when they had a large number of principals, rather than the minimal half-dozen they have nowadays, which must have relieved the stress on them rather more, although I can't imagine it helped the corps de ballet.

There have actually been a number of injuries of late at both BRB and ENB - you only have to look at BRB's beginning of this season to see how hit by injury they were, and I believe ENB had problems both with the spring tour and autumn tours last year. A shortage of dancers capable of principal roles can't help, and I suspect the answer is that someone else has to be thrown on if someone is off injured. At least I suppose the Royal has the relative luxury (generally) of not having to do 7-8 performances a week, but has them alternating with the opera, which must make things a little easier. I think there has to be a happy medium between not getting to dance much (something which has afflicted RB principals ever since I've been watching) and overdoing things. There must surely be a mid-point between not doing enough and therefore risking injury and doing too much and also risking injury!


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susiecrowmoderator

22-02-02, 01:34 AM (GMT)
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17. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #12
 
   When I was with SWRB we used to do long provincial tours with eight shows a week of two or three programmes. Alternative casts would get a number of opportunities, and although one often felt that there was inadequate rehearsal time, undoubtedly there was the benefit of building stamina, artistry and experience and being able to develop roles and a sense of the particular style of new work in performance, to inhabit the dance. And after all creative performance is what it is all about and why one does it.
I don't think that doing lots of performances necessarily raises the risk of injury; that has more to do with dancers' technical preparation and understanding of how classical dance works and of the requirements of the particular works to be performed, as well as general level of fitness and ability to look after oneself properly. Scheduling which makes it difficult for dancers to do this will put them at risk. Perhaps this means longer rehearsal periods and more performances of fewer programmes, giving the dancers a chance to get under the skin of the work.


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Viviane

18-02-02, 05:00 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #8
 
   Anneliese, it's switching between classical and neo-classical that can cause problems. I read that POB-dancers had a lot of injuries due to that in combination with the high workingschedule.


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katharine kanter

22-02-02, 09:49 AM (GMT)
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18. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #10
 
   LAST EDITED ON 22-02-02 AT 09:53 AM (GMT)

LAST EDITED ON 22-02-02 AT 09:51 AM (GMT)

There's an interview with Elisabeth Maurin (in French) up on this Website, where she refers to the constant switching between "modern" and classical, as a major source of injury. This, in the mouth of a dancer who has rarely, if ever had a serious injury, has, I would venture to say, some credibility.

Allow me to give you a case study from personal experience, which I have, since that day seventeen years ago, now seen repeated with more individuals than I would care to recollect.

In the winter of 1986, I was invited to one of Europe's top professional schools, to observe classes. In that class, was a sixteen-year old girl, of outstanding ability. She was small, compact, strongly-built without being in the slightest "chunky", with ideal harmonic proportions, and a very solid technique. There were no signs whatsoever of any weakeness or physical problems - we are talking about a top school, with the entire battery of medical science at its disposal.

Discussing this young girl over coffee with the teachers later, one said to me "this is the new Giselle, this is the new Juliet, her powers of concentration are extraordinary...we're all on tenterhooks to see what she'll do when she leaves here."

One year later, the girl left the school and joined a top company. Within six months, she had begun to suffer from a chronic knee injury, in alternating between classical works, and several strongly turned-in "modern" works. At the time, I recall her saying that she could precisely locate the moment, and the work, in which the knee problem started.

In that year, she had told a choreographer, in one of the pieces at issue, that she was unable to properly perform certain turns he expected with bended knee and turned in; he coolly brushed her aside.

By the time the girl was nineteen, she was sleeping with ice-gel packs on the knee.

The next decade involved the usual round of orthopaedists and physiotherapists, while keeping up a full soloist's performance schedule. The financial drain of medical treatment, coupled with the realisation that her leg, and thus her career, had been WRECKED, began to affect her work, so that by age 27 she was looking tired and wan.

At the age of 29, she could no longer bear the pain, and retired.

I find that very bitter. We are talking about people who have put in ten years' arduous studies, people who have so much to give the world - and there they are, shot out of the air at the height of their powers. Is that not bitter ? Is that not a terrible waste ?

Would that it were an isolated case - but it is not.


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alison

19-02-02, 05:53 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #8
 
   Deborah Bull also said something to the effect that you don't actually build up stamina by rehearsing hard say the day before a major performance, you just make things worse! I suspect that as you say the switch between hyper-extended contemporary and classical ballet must be difficult, though. I can't imagine what it must be like to, say, rehearse Forsythe all afternoon and then have to make a physical *and mental* switch from doing that to doing Bayadère in the evening, but I'd think it must be incredibly difficult for all concerned.


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alison

19-02-02, 06:02 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #5
 
   >Further, some murmurs in the past
>about not seeing non-principals getting
>senior roles must now be
>just that - in the
>past. We are getting to
>see the likes of Putov,
>Oughtred, Galeazzi, Nunez, Tattersall and
>Pennefather on a regular basis

I'd take Oughtred, Tattersall and Pennefather out of that list. There are still a number of dancers, including at principal level, who aren't being seen as much as they deserve. Nunez, though, definitely isn't one of them .

>Finally, the dancers may be working
>very hard, but they're also
>not getting bored.

True, but isn't there a happy medium?

>We may even get to see
>more of Yoshida and Yanowsky
>at this rate (ok, personal
>bias there!) - perhaps the
>situation that is developing in
>2002 is not quite the
>one that Wildor imagined?
>
Little sign of that so far - I think Wildor may have been right to a certain extent.


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Paul A

22-02-02, 11:53 AM (GMT)
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19. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #5
 
  
>This is a balancing act that
>Stretton has: of packing the
>House for financial reasons, keeping
>up artistic integrity, keeping true
>to De Valois' vision but
>trying new directions,

>Is this the dawning of
>a great age for the
>Royal Ballet - one of
>great diversity, accessibility and popularity
>- or is he stretching
>things too far too fast?


And in response to Katherine's worrying posting about the injured dancer:

Is the RB attempting to be too many things at once? Personally I regret that the extant repertory of the RB is now largely unrecognisable as "English" - and that we have had such inconsistent luck in developing contemporary choreographers within that tradition.

Without wishing to suggest that dance is an art that "stopped short" I was not excited by this season's repertoire - international choreograhers' works that are exported anywhere, everywhere - not very recognisable as the product of the RB: more a case of any company, anywhere.

If the price to present such a mix is excessive pressure on dancers then the situation is even more worrying. Can we expect dancers to be convincing and condfident across such an eclectic mix?

Jeremy Isaacs admits in his autobiography that his mission to stretch the RB, not essentially different from Stretton's approach, was too diffuse, too wide to work effectively given pressure on dancers, stage and rehearsals. Some of those issues have been addressed - but perhaps some soul searching is needed: who exactly does the RB think it is?

The perennial question!


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tortie14

17-02-02, 11:33 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #0
 
   I suspect and worry that there is a price to pay for so much new work being put on in a short time while tackling Bayadere, and after Don Q and Onegin - injuries. There comes a point when pressure and stress become counter productive. And seeing ballets thrown on under rehearsed is not fair on the paying public either. I hope Mr Stretton's scheduling becomes a little less ambitious and demanding and more realistic. We, the audience really does not need so many new ballets all at once but I guess he wants to make his mark. Hope they have good physios on board and not too many casualties.

Thanks for the report - very interesting and informative.


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Brendan McCarthymoderator

18-02-02, 07:16 AM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #4
 
   LAST EDITED ON 18-02-02 AT 08:00 AM (GMT)

It is a difficult dilemma. Creativity demands taking risks. One has sympathies both with the dancers and with Ross Stretton. He is expected to introduce new rep, keep a core programme of the classics and be ever mindful of the heritage rep. There are intrinsic tensions in doing all of this - and they are being felt most keenly right now.

Perhaps the more adventurous triple bills need to be spaced more evenly through the year. As it is, most of the new/contemporary work is being shown in the three months from March to May. This is very rough on the dancers.


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alison

19-02-02, 05:58 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #4
 
   I think you're right there. AFter all, I don't think that overall this year the Royal is necessarily doing any more than they did, say, last year under Dowell, with all the "new" ballets then. It may just be that it's clumped together in bunches too much, interspersed with long runs of 3-act ballets. I don't think the situation is helped at all by this tendency to cast some dancers in virtually everything, while not using others enough, though.


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Anneliese

18-02-02, 03:38 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #0
 
  
>
>Asked whether notation could preserve a
>work with any degree of
>authenticity, she replied that a
>score could only note the
>right steps on the right
>count. It didn’t mean a
>work was danced well. She
>did concede that the Royal
>Ballet notation, made when the
>company first performed ‘In the
>Middle’, had been very helpful.
>
?!? Well of course it doesn't mean the the work is danced well! But you can't expect a work to survive without records of some sort, and notation is the first step. Nuance requires coaching - but it doesn't have to be by the originator. After all, it isn't William Forsythe who's rehearsing this work, is it? So would it matter (iyswim) if he weren't alive?

Sorry, off the point a little but this remarkk really jarred.


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Brendan McCarthymoderator

20-02-02, 08:58 AM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #7
 
   In answer to Anneliese, yes, as written, it is a slight non-sequitur. The substantive point was that most choreography gets a bit blurry with the years, notation notwithstanding, unless its creator is around to keep it in repair.

Susie Crow and I rehearsed several of these issues in the November magazine, and there were associated postings threads. Susie's piece 'Body of Knowledge' is on this link, while my thoughts on 'Preserving Forsythe' are also in the November magazine.

Suzanne's posting on 'What to look for in William Forsythe' is a companion piece to mine on the study day.


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Jane S

22-02-02, 05:17 PM (GMT)
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20. "RE: Enduring Images - Present Realities. ROH 16th February."
In response to message #16
 
   One thing that surprises me in the discussion about overworked dancers etc is the lack of any mention of union rules. Are there really no regulations about hours of rehearsal on performance days?


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